Investment in science pays off for everybody
The March for Science takes place today. And scientists, dispassionate seekers of the rules and properties that govern the physical, biologic, ecologic and cosmologic systems of our planet and the universe, are becoming uncharacteristically heated about whether to go against type to show up to march and show the value of their work. It’s easy to see why scientists are energized. The recently proposed draft federal budget severely cuts research funding, providing fuel for a growing sense that the current administration undervalues science.
Scientific research isn’t just good in general; it helped transform our city and region when much of the manufacturing economy stalled. Economic activity resulting from the research work at the University of Pittsburgh alone has an impact of about $3.7 billion annually to our region. But what’s really at risk goes well beyond immediate impact on local economies.
Science saves lives, offers hope and cures disease.
However, sometimes science just follows an intriguing question. This kind of research, basic science, seems to most irritate those who question federal investments in science. On first look, examining the composition of Gila monster saliva may not seem practical or worth the investment. But this kind of scientific inquiry is crucial to discovery, and in the case of the Gila monster, led to a dramatic improvement in human health — a drug used to help control diabetes (Byetta).
Sustained government support of both basic science and applied science is beneficial to both the economy and to humankind. Who could be against that? MARC S. MALANDRO,
Ph.D. Vice Chancellor for Technology
Management and Commercialization University of Pittsburgh
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Once again I read an article saying Donald Trump won because he had a populist message for voters suffering economically. But millions of these voters did not vote for him. Maybe they did not like the racist talk, the degradation of women or the outrageous lies from Mr. Trump, or maybe they liked Hillary Clinton’s populist message.
I don’t think it is fair to say Mr. Trump won because he had a populist message and the Democrats didn’t. I felt the Democrats had a better message. We need to look at other reasons why he won and quit blaming economic despair. PHIL TURLIK
Starling Marte was suspended 80 games for using a performance-enhancing drug (“Pirates’ Marte Suspended for Using Steroids,” April 19). No challenge, no appeal, too bad.
It would be great if the NFL could follow Major League Baseball’s example and handle its problems the same. I can’t understand grown men making zillions of dollars and not realizing the impression they set as role models. Quit defending these morons and get rid of them. Congrats to the MLB for treating the problem. JOE PONIEWAZ Lincoln Place
Women in general have felt threatened by the recent political climate. Muslim women in particular have come under fire. There is a general perception that they are bound up in the hijab, confined to their homes and overall restricted from opportunities for advancement. I am a Muslim woman belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and I would like to debunk those myths.
At an address in February to a large gathering of women, my worldwide leader, the khalifa of Islam, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, said, “Let it be crystal clear that in no respect is a woman’s status [in Islam] less than that of a man.”
I don a headscarf, move around freely and pursued higher education during my youth. So have the other female members of my Ahmadiyya Community. Instead of feeling down about the misconceptions around us, let us women of all faiths come together to tear down walls and build bridges.
Join me at my mosque (747 South Ave., Wilkinsburg) for a women’s-only interfaith gathering on Saturday, May 6, at 2 p.m. Please email email@example.com or call (412) 294-8208 for information. SYEDA AHMED Indiana Township